Our purpose was to investigate the water quality at various sites in Onslow County. The first site we investigated was the Lily Pond at the Land Application Site. The water quality was adequate. The biodiversity was high, and the pH was good considering it was an eight out of fourteen considering seven is neutral. The habitat had freshwater meaning there was no salt (0% salinity). With the biodiversity being high, there was a variety of green plant life. The large amount of nitrates in the water made the pond’s ecosystem eutrophic which means the plants used the large amount of nitrates (eighteen parts per million) in order to help them produce energy through photosynthesis.
On the second day we explored the Inter-coastal Waterway on Camp Lejeune. For the Inter-Coastal Waterway, the water quality was fair. The pH was 7.94 which was slightly closer to neutral than the Lily Pond. The salinity was 31.2 parts per thousands (ppt) making it almost as salty as The Ocean. The nitrates were fairly low at five parts per million (ppm). The dissolved oxygen was high at 95.4%. However, the water was highly turbid, and could contain toxins from passing boats, military training, and other recreational activities.
Also on the second day we went to the Onslow Beach on Camp Lejeune. The water quality was moderate considering it was a very harsh environment. Thus, there was not much biodiversity in the inter-tidal zone. The organisms in this region have to adapt with being out of water in the harsh sand, and being in the cool water with the crashing waves. The salinity was 34 ppt which was lower than the average open-ocean salinity because it recently rained. Due to this the water quality was not as good as if we were to survey the Neritic zone, which is farther off shore.
For our fourth site, we traveled to the Sturgeon City Salt Marsh. The water quality at this location was balanced. The water was highly turbid which was probably caused by the kicking of the waders in the water, or because of the rain the days before. The salinity was 6.1 ppt which makes this water brackish. The pH reading was an 8, and the nitrates were 5 parts per million (ppm). The biodiversity was very high including 3 different types of Spartina, and a variety of marine organisms. At the boardwalk we did the same tests we did at the Salt Marsh, and our findings were the same.
At our last site for this institute, we explored all the facets of Wilson Bay, and tested water at two locations and two depths. The dissolved oxygen of the Wilson Bay Inlet (8.55 mg/L and 5.18 mg/L) was lower than the Wilson Bay Center (10.05 mg/L and 7.34 mg/L), and the surface dissolved oxygen for both locations (10.05 mg/L and 8.55 mg/L) is higher than the benthic (7.34 mg/L and 5.18 mg/L ) because of winds and turbulence.
The temperature is cooler on the bottom (29.6 deg. Celsius, and 28.6 deg. Celsius) because cold water is more dense, and the inlet (29.5 deg. Celsius, and 28.6 deg. Celsius) was colder because of the shade provided by the bridge. The salinity is greater at the bottom (6.3 ppt, and 12 ppt) because salt sinks in water. When the salinity is higher, the conductivity is greater.
At the beginning of this week we saw a presentation on the Wilson Bay Initiative. In this presentation we learned how Wilson Bay used to be our city Jacksonville’s Water Treatment Center. Waste Water was discharged straight into the Bay fueling the amounts of nitrates, bacteria, and threw the pH way out of proportion from seven. Algal Blooms grew and many organisms left. Wilson Bay became a dead zone, and was closed from recreation. Through the use of oysters, aeration, and conservation efforts, Wilson Bay has been restored to a productive ecosystem.